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By Richard Pagliaro | Friday, April 20, 2018

Rafael Nadal

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal crushed Dominic Thiem, 6-0, 6-2, in 67 minutes rolling into his 13th Monte-Carlo semifinal vs. Grigor Dimitrov.

Photo credit: Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters

Precision placement marked Rafael Nadal's 14th consecutive Monte-Carlo quarterfinal today.

Meticulously placing his water bottles in just the right spot before play, Nadal spent the rest of the day deconstructing Dominic Thiem with ruthless commitment.

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The 10-time champion roared through nine straight games igniting a 6-0, 6-2 thrashing of Thiem to roll into his 13th Monte-Carlo semifinal.

"I think I played great," Nadal told the media in Monte-Carlo. "(I'm) playing very aggressive in general terms... It has been a great day for me and a great result against a very difficult rival."

The victory ensures Nadal will retain the world No. 1 ranking for another week, surpassing John McEnroe for sixth place all time with 171 weeks at the top spot.

Nadal will play Grigor Dimitrov in tomorrow's semifinal that's a rematch of their epic 2017 Australian Open semifinal.

In a rematch of the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals championship, Dimitrov defeated his doubles partner, David Goffin, 6-4, 7-6 (5), in today's opening quarterfinal. Dimitrov rallied from 1-5 down in the second set advancing to his first Monte-Carlo semifinal 

Continuing his dominance of Goffin, Dimitrov beat the Belgian for the seventh time in eight meetings to reach his third semifinal of the season.

There is a time and place for everything.

Today's second quarterfinal was not the time or place for Thiem, who looked helpless a times to halt Nadal's fusillade of forehands dive-bombing into his backhand corner.

The top seed was untouchable on serve. Nadal served 71 percent, dropped only six points on serve in the match and did not face a break point in a comprehensive 67-minute beatdown devoid of drama.

The fifth-seeded Thiem, who toppled two-time champion Novak Djokovic yesterday, was bidding to become the first man to beat Djokovic and Nadal in the same tournament on clay. Nadal wasn't having it.  

Since bowing to Thiem in the 2017 Rome quarterfinals, Nadal has reeled off 12 consecutive victories and 32 straight sets on his beloved red clay.

The reigning Roland Garros champion clubbed heavy crosscourt forehands to Thiem's one-handed backhand and the Austrian had no answer.

Rolling through the opening set, Nadal dispensed the bagel in 32 minutes. The left-handed Spaniard surged through eight of the first nine points of the second set, seizing a 3-0 second-set lead just 13 minutes into the set.

Altering court position did not slow the shellacking as Thiem tried dropping back deeper behind the baseline and sometimes moved close to the line to try to take the ball on the rise.

Thiem finally stalled his free-fall holding for 1-3 to earn his first game after 52 minutes.

A ruthless Nadal responded with a pair of love holds and more twisting topspin that terrorized the Austrian.

Nadal raised his Monte-Carlo record to 66-4 as he continues his quest for his 76th career championship.


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